What is Acupuncture?

Acupuncture has been practiced for over three thousand years as a primary healthcare system in Asia. It is a relatively painless procedure involving the insertion and manipulation of sterile, disposable needles at specific sites on thebody where the flow of Qi and blood are therapeutically influenced. Qi is defined as the essential energy of the universe which maintains the vital activities of life, upon whose harmonious flow our health depends. Interruption of that flow, by internal or external stress, trauma, poor health habits, aging, or constitutional deficiency, can result in symptoms and illness. Acupuncture restores the balance and flow of Qi and blood within and between the body’s systems and organs.

What conditions is it used for?

The World Health Organization (WHO) recognizes acupuncture and Traditional Oriental Medicine’s effectiveness in treating over 40 common disorders including: gastrointestinal disorders, gynecological problems, including reproductive issues, urogenital, respiratory, and orthopedic disorders, cancer chemotherapy support, migraine, etc.

What happens during a treatment?

All clients fill out an intake form before their first appointment. Aside from the expected health related questions, you will also find lifestyle questions which provide which the acupuncturist with information to help determine the proper treatment.

Also, observations of the patient’s appearance, including that of the tongue are considered. Other key factors of assessment are the unique qualities of the pulse, and medical history. Information derived from Western medical labs is also factored in. Many patients whose symptomatic complaints and lab results defy conventional diagnosis in western medical terms are easily diagnosed within the framework of Oriental Medicine.

The actual treatment is a relatively painless procedure involving the insertion and manipulation of hair-thin sterile, disposable needles. The needles are inserted at specific sites on the body called “points”, where they will alter circulation and influence a cascade of chemical and hormonal reactions. After the needles are inserted, the client is then left alone while the body responds to the treatment. The needles are removed when the acupuncturist determines they have been in long enough. Each treatment typically lasts a little over an hour.

Acupuncture treatments, when performed by a trained practitioner, are for the most part side effect-free, and have an excellent safety record.

For more information, go to the New Patients page.

How many treatments will I need?

Acupuncture is a process, not a procedure. Successful outcomes are dependent upon treatment given over a period of time at regularly scheduled intervals. Going weeks between treatments is not likely to be very beneficial.

In China, where the government pays for medical care, patients get acupuncture daily. In this country, patients usually receive treatments weekly. A course of therapy usually ranges between 8 to 12 treatments, with some disorders requiring more than one course of therapy to attain maximum results. Some disorders may also require coming more than once a week. The number of treatments you will need before you feel better also depends on the condition, how long you have had it, how often you receive treatments, how severe the symptoms, and successful adherence to suggested lifestyle modifications.

Who is likely to benefit from acupuncture?

Anyone can benefit from acupuncture. Oriental medicine promotes natural healing and improved functioning of the body. It may be useful as an adjunctive, curative, or preventative therapy. It may also serve as an alternative for patients who cannot tolerate the side effects associated with conventional drug therapy, or for those who have failed to respond to western medicine protocols.

Treatments with needles may not be appropriate for the very young, the very elderly, or debilitated/weak patient. Moxibustion (moxa) can be substituted or used in conjunction with the use of the needle at point locations in cases where patients are particularly weak or needle-sensitive. Moxa, or mugwort, is a special plant that has therapeutic properties. It is applied as a combustible heat source at the site of an acupuncture point, either alone or in conjunction with a needle. It similarly stimulates a point in much the same way as a needle, with the added benefit of heat.

Will my insurance cover acupuncture?

Insurance generally will not cover acupuncture treatment. Some people are able to get reimbursed by Flexible Medical Spending Accounts. Receipts will be provided for your reimbursement, payment for services rendered is expected at the time of service.